Best Camping Generators 2023 – Compact Yet Powerful
A quality generator is a lifeline for your camping journey to charge your all devices, operate appliances like a space heater in winter, a fridge to keep safe your food, lots of lights, a projector, and other camping essentials.
After testing 25 camping generators and consulting with camping geeks we have made the list of best camping generators available in the market with decent capacity and runtime, modern features with the noiseless operation, and also proved to be safe for your appliances and environment.
Without further wasting time let’s explore our quick summary;
Best Overall – Honda 662220 EU2200i 2200 Watt Portable Inverter Generator
Runner-Up – EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro Portable Power Station
Smallest camping Generator – Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
Portable camping generator – Champion 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
Quietest Generator for camping – Portable Power Station OUKITEL CN505
Best for higher load – Champion Power Equipment 200987 4500
|NAME||WEIGHT||DIMENSIONS||WATTAGES (Starting/Running)||NOISE FROM 25 Ft.||RATINGS||PRICE|
|Honda 662220 EU2200i||47.4lb.||20 x 11.4 x 16.7 inches||2200/1800||61 – 62dB||9.9|
|EF ECO FLOW RIVER Pro||16.8lb.||11.4 x 7.3 x 9.3 inches||1200/720||Negligible||9.8|
|Jackery Portable Power 500||13.8lb.||11.84x7.59x9.20 inches||1000/500||Negligible||9.7|
|Champion 2000 Watt Inverter Generator||39.5lb.||17.3 x 11.5 x 17.7 inches||2000/1700||69 – 70dB||9.6|
|Portable Power Station OUKITEL CN505||16lb.||13 x 6 x 8 inches||1000/614||Negligible||9.6|
|Champion Power 4500||101lb.||23.2 x 17.7 x 20.1 inches.||4500 / 3500||61 - 62dB||9.5|
Honda EU2200i is not only popular for its durability, decent capacity, and runtime but also seeks love from camping lovers just because of its portability. It only weighs about 48lbs with a decent carrying handle to carry it like a briefcase. Also compact enough to fits in your travel trailer, pickup truck, or even in a car.
Besides its portability and durability, this generator provides me 8 hours of runtime at 25% load, and 3 and a half hours at 90% load which is not a bad result on 0.5 gallons of the fuel tank. Make sure to take a few gallons of gasoline with you, whenever you are going to spend winter nights.
Since this machine works differently in both eco and normal mode I have conducted two tests 1st on eco mode and 2nd on normal mode.
Eco-mode: from 24ft away I got 57 – 58dB on average with no load on eco mode, however with the previous model I got 55 – 56dBs.
Normal mode: from the same distance I got 61 – 62dB on average with eco mode off, however with the previous model I got 70 – 71dBs which is amazing, even the new unit has a bigger engine but it is 9 – 10dBs quitter then previous.
After downloading the Honda app from the play store I fired up my generator and put some load to figure out what things I can run with it. Well, the configuration and user experience of the app is pretty easy you will find eco throttle, running, oil life, and a dial that shows us the total output wattages.
I run the following appliances to make sure that should it be reliable for my camping journey or not.
- Hair Dryer
- Laptops, drones, cameras, etc.
- Coffee makers.
- Electric smoker.
- Small fridge.
- Small AC unit
- All lighting, TVs, LEDs, etc. of RV.
The above-mentioned appliances run smoothly without any voltage drop since the machine has
121 cc Honda GXR120 engine that can produce 2200 surge and 1800 rated watts you can run pretty much everything during the camping.
Besides that much decent capacity, it is parallel ready you can connect another same or bigger unit to get doubled or tripled capacity.
Outlets and essentials: 2x 120V AC 15A, a battery charging DC 12V, parallel ports, eco mode button, some indicator lights, circuit protector, and grounding nut.
Honda EU2200i is not only coming with traditional safety features like low oil alert and smooth voltages but also comes with the latest co-miner which detects carbon monoxide and shut off the unit whenever the CO (carbon monoxide) concentration comes to dangerous levels.
I run a test and found promising results, I run my unit in a closet for about a few seconds and the engine shut off suddenly after 24 seconds, when I open the closet I found a blinking red light which indicates the concentration of CO is more than safe levels. Well, this unit has a smart CO – miner still doesn’t ever use it indoors.
Here is a detailed review of the Honda EU2200i
This little beast is solely built to enhance your camping journey; it only weighs about 16 lbs. with an extremely compact and futuristic design. I got my power station at the right time with perfect conditions.
I didn’t find any cracks on the top of the eco flow river. Well, the box contains the machine itself, a user manual, a warranty card, MC4 to XT60 Solar Charging Cable, AC charging cable, DC5521-DC5525 Cable, and a car charging cable.
Design and build quality:
Eco Flow River is one of the prettiest portable power stations I have ever seen in my life, the front contains a control panel with all essential USB ports, however, the back is plain. The right side has some outlets, a battery expansion port, and vents; however, the left side contains some inputs, grounding nuts, circuit breakers, and vents.
When it comes to the built quality, it is made of hard plastic that will surely last longer.
Outlets and Essentials:
- 2x USB Type-A ports.
- 1x USB A fast charging.
- 1x USB type C 100W fast charging.
- 1x DC car outlet.
- 2x DC outlets.
- 3x 110v AC outlets that can operate any appliance less than 600 watts.
- A light.
- An LCD that shows the input and output wattages, total charging, how much it can run, and what inputs are connected.
ECO Flow River can be charged with solar, car, and wall outlets. The manufacturer has claimed that it comes with X-Stream Fast Charge, you will get 0-80% under 1 hour with a wall outlet, however with a car outlet and solar power you will get a full charge in 8 and 4-8 hours respectively.
My test results;
With the wall outlet, I got 0 – 90% within an hour, the output wattage is about 620 – 625W on average which is mind-blowing. Well, I got fully charged within 1.5 hours.
After connecting the battery with the unit to double the capacity I got fully charged both within 3 hours.
With 110w of solar panel, I got 80% of charging within 4.5 hours which is not that bad.
NOTE: Like ECO flow delta after draining the complete charging you may need to wait for about 1 to 2 hours before charging it again.
What can EF ECO FLOW RIVER pro run – Load Test?
EF ECO FLOW RIVER pro can produce 1200w of starting and 720w of running watt and also have X-Boost technology mode that can provide more than 1500w, well I got an overload light after 1200w even the X – Boost mode was ON.
Besides the X-Boost technology, you have the option to couple another battery to double the capacity.
I have run the following appliances on ECO FLOW River with X boost ON and OFF.
- Light (10w).
- Blender (500w).
- Small fridge (450).
- Projector (300w).
- Electric frying pan (950) – X-boost ON.
- Space heater (1000w) – X-boost ON.
- Charge all of the laptops, drones, camera mobile, etc. (300w).
After connecting the battery I operated the following power-hungry appliances.
- Space heater (1500w).
- Oven (1000w).
- Hairdryer (1500w).
I am pretty satisfied with its performance even though I have connected 10 devices at the same time during the camping, I charged the drones, laptops, mobiles, cameras small speakers, etc. it never disappoints me.
It depends if you are going to run at the full capacity you may get 1-2 hours, however with a 25% load you may get 7 – 8 hours.
This portable camping generator has multilayers of protection including overload, over-temperature, Lower temperature, Short circuit, Low voltage, overcurrent protection, etc.
Jackery power station 500 is the most compact power station with all necessary outputs, durable and long-lasting lithium-ion batteries, and all modern safety and portability features.
I got my jackery 500 within the right time with perfect packaging; I must say the customer support of these guys is amazing. The box includes some user manuals, a car charging cable, an AC charger, and a warranty card.
Design and build quality:
The front of this power station contains a huge control panel with lots of outlets and essentials, however, the back is plain, and the right side has a lot of vents, however, the left side contains a flashlight and more vents for cooling down the machine.
When it comes to the built quality, it is made of a hard plastic that I think can last for years.
Output and essentials:
- An LCD monitors output/input wattages and battery life.
- AC outlet that can support 500 watts with 110v.
- 3x USB Type-A ports.
- 2x DC 12v, 7amp input
- DC car outlet of 12v, 10amp.
- DC output.
Jackery 500 can be charged with a wall outlet, solar or car outlet with pass-through technology below are the results of my charging tests.
With the wall outlet, I found 81 – 82w of input power and takes almost 7 – 7.5 hours to get fully charged. After connecting it to the 12v car outlet I get almost half 40 – 42w of inputs and it takes almost 13 – 14 hours to get fully charged.
With a 100 watts solar panel, I got 62 – 66w and takes almost 10 – 11 hours.
As per my test, I found this power station is not that fast like ECO flow and other powerful power stations, but its pass-through charging technology is a lifesaver for me, I charged my multiple essentials, even when the jackery 500 is in charge. I don’t need to wait until the unit becomes charged.
At full capacity almost 96 – 98% load I got 53 – 54 minutes of runtime, which makes sense since this machine is not for high-power-hungry appliances. With a 20% load, I got 3.5 – 3.8 hours.
What can Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500 Run? (Load test):
Jackery Explorer 500 comes with a 518-watt-hours inverter and lithium-ion battery pack that can produce up to 1000 starting and 500 running watts. Also, its inverter produces pure sine waves which means you will get a steady voltage flow.
Below are the appliances I used for testing purposes.
- Blender 400 watts.
- The air pump of 100 watts.
- Mini fridge 350 watts
- Projector 200 watts.
- Mobile, cameras, drones, and laptops charging 200 watts
Overall this portable power station is a lifesaver for me on my camping journey since I can charge my all shooting stuff, laptops, mobile, etc. even when it is on charging.
Like all other expensive this power station has an intelligent BMS system that constantly protects against Over-charge, thermal, high or low voltage, short current, or over-discharge.
4. Champion 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
Champion 2000 Watt Inverter Generator is one of the smallest portable camping generators with decent capacity and runtime. Also, it is loaded with lots of modern features like Eco mode, parallel ready, dual fuel option, and multiple outlets.
Well, the design and build quality of the unit is pretty impressive, it only weighs 39.5lbs with a carrying handle to transport it easily.
What includes in the box: I got a user manual, oil funnel, propane hose, engine oil, and a USB adopter.
Champion 2000-watt portable inverter generator comes with 1.05 gallon of gasoline tank and an option to connect your LPG tank easily. As per my fuel test, I got 11 hours of runtime at 30% load, however, with 50% load I got about 5 – 5.5 hours.
Experts Suggestions: Make sure to purchase a dual-fuel unit to avoid uninterrupted running, since there is a single-fuel version of it make sure to avoid it if you want to put 50% of the load
I take my decibel meter (sound meter) and perform two tests one with Eco mode ON and the other with normal mode from 25 ft. away.
Test 1 Result with Eco Mode: 60 – 61dBs.
Test 2 Result with Normal Mode: 69 – 70dBs
NOTE: The manufacturer has claimed that this unit can produce 53 dB from a distance of 23 ft., which is not true as per my tests.
Load test: This machine has a 4 stroke 79cc engine that can produce 2000 surges and 1700 rated watts. I put some loads accordingly to test out the voltage fluctuation or any other problem
- A coffee maker of 1650 watts.
- Space heater of 1500 watt
- All of the lights, TVs, etc. 1500 watts
- The refrigerator of 450 watts.
- Electric smoker.
- Mini refrigerator 350 watts.
This machine produces <3% THD which means all sensitive appliances will be safe from unsteady voltages, also it is parallel ready you can connect two same or a bigger unit to double or triple the capacity.
Since the unit has <3% of THD your appliance will be safe, also it meets the standards of EPA and CARB which means there will be low carbon footprints.
Here is the detailed review of the Champion 2000 Watt Inverter Generator
Design and built quality:
Well, the design of this machine is pretty compact with extremely lightweight, the top contains a carrying handle and the bottom contains rubber legs for stabilization. The front contains a control panel and the back contains a flashlight and some vents for airflow.
When it comes to the built quality case of this power station is made from durable aluminum that is rigid enough to sustain fire, or high temperatures, and also have functions to dissipate heat perfectly to cool down the unit.
Outlets and essentials:
- 2x 110v AC outlets.
- 12V, 5amp DC outlet.
- 12v, 5amp Cigarette outlet.
- 24v input.
- USB Type – C
- 2 x 5V USB ports.
- 2x USB 2.0 ports.
Since this machine can be charged in three ways I have conducted three tests one on AC power, 2nd on solar power, and 3rd on car outlet, the results are below.
With AC outlet I got a fully charged power station in 6 – 6.7 hours, It only supports 80w of input which is not that good, a user like me can’t wait that long, but it has pass-through charging support that helps me to charge my devices when the power station is in charge.
With the car and solar outlet, I got the same 80w of input and it takes 6- 7 hours to get fully charged. I must say the built-in MPPT solar technology provides a decent charging efficiency.
What can OUKITEL CN505 run?
Since this power station has 614w of running and 1000 starting watts I didn’t put a high load on it I just operate the following necessary camping accessories and appliances.
- Mobile, laptop, mini fan (200w)
- Mini fridge (150w)
- Drone and cameras batteries (150w).
- Travel mug (100w).
With 95% load, I manage to get about 55 – 58 minutes, however, with 25% load, I got about 4 – 5 hours which is not that bad since I purchase this power station for charging the stuff, or operating low power-hungry light, LCDs, etc.
Safety and life cycle:
OUKITEL CN505 comes with a (BMS) which makes sure to prolong the battery life by providing protection from Short Circuits, over-current, Over-Voltage, Overload, Overheating, and other potential hazards.
Also, its advanced LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery) is explosion-free and can last for about 2000 cycles, also can work perfectly in lower temperatures, moreover, it is safe for the environment and decomposable as well.
6. Champion Power Equipment 200987 4500
Champion power equipment 4500 is one of the best camping inverter generators available in the market if you need a decent capacity with silent operation. We include this unit for the people who want to operate multiple power-hungry appliances like smokers, electric stoves, coffee makers, etc., even during camping.
Well, the unit comes with engine oil, tool kits, a USB adopter, an oil funnel, a user manual, and remote control.
Design and build quality:
This is one of the prettiest camping generators I have ever seen in my life, it is a perfect blend of yellow and matt black with a durable frame that can last for years.
The front contains a long foldable handle a fully functional control panel and a small compartment of battery below the control panel, however, the back contains some vents and a spark arrestor. The top of the machine has two handles for lifting and excess to fill up the gasoline.
The right side of the unit has a manual pull starter and a small compartment to change the engine oil or drain the overflowed gasoline, however, the left side contains a huge panel that can be removed to do maintenance.
Ports and essentials:
- Remote control that can work from 80ft. away
- 4-mode LCD that shows the runtime, Volts, Eco mode button, and Frequency).
- EZ Start Dial.
- 2x 120V, 20AC.
- 1x 120V, 30A RV ready port.
- ON/OFF battery switch.
- Parallel ports.
- Grounding nut.
- 2x DC USB ports of 12V, 8A
- circuit breakers.
NOTE: All the breakers and outlets are weather, snow, and bugs-proof with decent rubber laps.
What can champion 4500 watts run? (Load Test):
Since this machine comes with a 212cc 4-stroke champion’s engine that can produce 4500 starting / 3500 running watts with <3 THD, you can run pretty much everything on your camping journey.
For testing, I have operated the following camping essentials.
- Space heater 1500 watts.
- 110v Air inflator 1650 watts.
- Electric smoker 1000 watts.
- Electric stove 1000 watts.
- Electric cooker 1000 watts.
Since this is an inverter generator it provides significantly low noise as compared to the other normal generator I have conducted a few tests with my sound meter from 25ft. away and below are the results.
- With no load and eco mode off I got 58 – 60dB
- With no load eco mode on, I got 56 – 57dB
- With 30% load, I got 61 – 62dB on average, however, on eco mode, I got 58 –60dB.
The results were pretty awesome; I can operate it at any campground without disturbing my neighbors
With a single tank of 2.3-gallons, I got 13 hours of runtime at 30% load, however, with 50% load you will surely get 7-8 hours of runtime which is amazing. I am comfortably spending long winter nights with this beast.
Also, it comes with a dual fuel option as well; you should go for that if you are going to use it in harsh winters and don’t want interpreted run.
Here is the detailed review of the champion 4500 watts inverter generator
Things should Be Considered Before Buying Your Best Generator For Camping
As per my camping experience, I have gathered some things which should be kept in mind before buying a camping generator, let’s explore them.
Size, Weight, And Durability:
A camping generator should be highly portable since we don’t want to transport a heavy generator, again and again, make sure to select a generator with a compact size and moderate weight which can be handled easily.
Also, your unit should be durable that can last for years, without needing repairs.
What Size Generator Do I Need For Camping? (Starting/Running Watts):
This parameter purely depends on your needs, if you are a low-power consumer and want to charge your devices, operate low-power-hungry appliances, etc., a camping generator with 1000 starting and 500 running watts is enough for you.
On the other hand, if you want to operate high power-hungry appliances like a space heater, electric stove, coffee machine, etc. you have to go for a bigger unit with 4000 to 5000 of starting and 2500 to 3500 running watts.
NOTE: If you are going to take higher wattage unit you have to compromise weight and size since higher wattage needs a powerful bigger engine or batteries.
Fuel Type And Availability:
The modern generator comes with gasoline, propane, solar power, or dual fuel (both LPG and Gasoline).
Propane: The availability of gasoline and solar is more than LPG but a single tank of LPG with 15 to 20 gallons can provide uninterrupted running of almost 15 – 24 hours depending on the generator size and total load you are going to pull.
Gasoline: Gasoline is radially available you will never run out of fuel and provide efficient running without producing too much noise.
Solar: Since solar is a green source of renewable energy and is available anywhere even in deserts, you don’t need to spend a single penny to get solar energy, it is a cheap and abundant source of energy. But there are some demerits as well, you have to wait for a longer time to charge your unit, also you can’t charge it during a cloudy day or night.
Which one should you go for: I prefer to go for a dual fuel or solar power generator for camping, infect I have both I take a jackery 500 with full charge to charge my shooting essentials and a 2500 watts portable generator for operating some of the power-hungry devices or in case there is a rainy or cloudy day I can operate it comfortably.
Runtime is the backbone of a camping generator; I prefer to go with a generator or power station that can at least last for about 7 – 8 hours at 30% load so that I can spend my longer winter nights comfortably.
Of course, nobody wants to disturb the neighbors with unbearable noise levels, infect some national parks restricted the use of noisy generators. A generator that produces 58 – 65dBs from 25ft. away with 30 – 50% load is considered a decent machine that can be used in any national park.
Also, you can put it 40 – 50ft away to get a super silent operation.
Your selected unit should have all required outlets and ports like USB type A, C, or AC, DC outlets, RV outlets, parallel connections, etc.
The bottom line is your selected camping generator must have all essentials that can enhance your camping journey.
If you are going to select a solar generator it must have a BMS system to avoid high-temperature voltage fluctuations etc., also if you are going to select a gasoline or LPG unit make sure that it should have, lowers THD, low oil, overload, etc. protections so that you can safely operate your voltage-sensitive appliance.
Other than that it should be certified by environmental firms like EPA and CAB to avoid high carbon footprints.
The bottom line is your selected unit should be safe for you, your environment, and your appliances as well.
Recommended Guide: How to Secure a Generator While Camping?
Maintenance And Usage:
Your selected unit should be easy to operate and need little to no maintenance like engine oil change, service, oil filter, and other things.
FAQs Related To The Best Camping Generators
Yes of course a 5000-watt generator is enough to full fill your needs unless you are going to operate multiple appliances simultaneously.
As per my experience if you have a gasoline or propane generator it should be at least 40 – 50ft away from your tent, however, a solar generator can be in your tent since they are noiseless.
A big no for the gas or propane generator, however, the solar generator like jackery and eco flow can be operated in the tent.